Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nokia's Point and Find Phone Interface Moves Closer to Reality

For months Nokia has been working on Point & Find, a new technology that allows users to simply point their camera phones at a banner and get more information on their device.

Now the company says it is ready to launch the service "very soon." Nokia says it will make Point & Find available as a public beta starting with a movie service.

The service will allow users to point their cellphone cameras at a movie poster and get information about the movie on their phone such as show times and trailers. It will also include the ability to book tickets.

"There is a lot of physical media out there--billboards, posters, restaurant menus, building--they could turn into a doorway for more information," says Philipp Schloter,general manager for the Point & Find program. "This makes the connection between the digital and the physical world."

It's also part of the company's quest to find ways for people to do more with their cellphones going beyond the traditional keypad interface, says Nokia.

Point & Find works by comparing the image in the viewfinder with a set of image properties in a database and the user's location. The technology came out of Nokia's 2007 acquisition of a company called Pixto.

Nokia is looking to partner with companies to extend the idea. For users it means they could walk down the street and point their camera at a restaurant banner and get the menu on the phone or buy with a point and click through their phone.

"Companies can define where a picture will go and what it is about," says Schloter, "and that content can reach users easily."

The technology could be a step ahead of 2D-barcodes or QR codes that are popular in Japan because it is more intuitive and capitalizes on the ubiquity of camera phones and Nokia's position as one of the market leaders.

Point & Find will initially be available only to Nokia phones but it will ultimately be extended to all camera phones with basic GPS capability, says the company.

See a demo of Nokia's Point and Find technology

Source :